José Avillez Restaurant, Parque Das Naçoes
Chef José Avillez’s restaurant Cantinho is one of the most paradigmatic stars on the stage of contemporary Portuguese cuisine, and its Expo iteration required an aesthetic treatment to match. The attitude is casual, cozy elegance, as welcoming as home, but with an exquisite refinement that rises to the level of the gastronomical experience itself. The extant two-story structure received a full makeover in a spectrum of salmon, rose, and cream, with stone, wood, straw and natural textures borrowed from the sun-soaked Portuguese countryside. In the ground-floor and first-floor dining rooms, framed wicker wall-panels lend depth to walls warmed with soft dawn-rose. Long integrated sofas are padded with pillows upholstered in bespoke petal and cream linens. Tables and Scandinavian-retro chairs are finished in a pale gray-blue and a dead salmon pink that provide a cool counterpoint, and both spaces are punctuated with lighting fixtures and window frames wrought from industrial black metal. The outdoor patio on the ground level, bigger than the indoor dining room to which it is adjoined, is distinguished by marble and metal tables, and metal chairs. It revisits the same color palette in different forms, and incorporates plenty of living green plants that lend dynamism and depth. The signature piece that makes the space sparkle is a monumental cabinet of curiosities hugging one wall in the lower dining room: its cubbies are filled with found objects – crockery, collectibles, utensils and tools – plucked by hand from the worlds of gastronomy and domestic pleasure, all within a coherent tonal range of salmon, red earth, terracotta and rose.
© Studio Astolfi